Mac Nelson, a senior Mabel-Canton lineman, shoves a Spring Grove Lion out of his way as he pursues the quarterback during last Friday night’s game in Mabel.  HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS-RECORD
Mac Nelson, a senior Mabel-Canton lineman, shoves a Spring Grove Lion out of his way as he pursues the quarterback during last Friday night’s game in Mabel. HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS-RECORD
<
1
2
>
In the 2013 season opener, the Mabel-Canton football team fell to Highway 44 neighbor Spring Grove, 52-6.

The Cougar offense struggled all night. Their first five possessions never produced a first down while the Lions ripped off 38 points. Overall, M-C scored once, punted seven times and had two turnovers (fumble and muffed punt).

Mabel-Canton's initial first down came just one play before Hunter Johnson raced 64 yards for the Cougars' only score. That play accounted for about half of the Cougars' 126-yard rushing total. Johnson finished with 108 yards on 17 carries.

Spring Grove rushed for 496 yards and passed for 87, totaling 583 yards of offense. With 15 passing yards (2 for 8) M-C gained 141 total yards. Lions Caleb Happel (222 yards) and Matt Schleich (148 yards) both had career-high rushing efforts, scoring three touchdowns each.

In a strong debut at quarterback, Spring Grove junior Keenan Siminski was sacked on the first pass play, but would come back to complete six of nine passes (one dropped) for 80 yards including an impressive 26-yard scrambling touchdown toss to a leaping Dustin Vickerman. Freshman quarterback Chase Grinde closed the scoring in the third period with a 43-yard run.

The Spring Grove starters scored on seven of nine possessions. Oddly enough, the Lions did not score on their longest drive (81 yards) as the Cougars stopped a fourth-down play at the one yard-line as the first half ended with Spring Grove up 38-6.

Other defensive highlights for M-C were quarterback sacks by Mason Henry and Dustin Kerns. The game ended with the Lion reserves allowing the clock to expire after reaching the M-C 13.

Spring Grove converted only two of eight extra-point plays; runs by Schleich and Harrison Speltz. The Cougar extra-point kick was blocked.

The first of two Spring Grove contests this season, the game counted as a non-conference matchup. The teams will meet again in a conference contest in the Wednesday regular-season finale.

Up next

M-C will host Houston on Friday, Sept. 6. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.

M-C individuals

RUSHING: Hunter Johnson 17-108, TD; Noah Manning 6-16; Mitch Kuhn 1-2.

PASSING: Collin O'Bieglo 1-6-0, 13 yds.; Noah Manning 1-2-0, 2 yds.

RECEIVING: Mac Nelson 1-13; Collin O'Bieglo 1-2.

SACKS: Mason Henry 1, Dustin Kerns 1.